FARMINGTON – The Kirtland Central Lady Broncos kept accumulating wins and ascended to the top, earning the No. 1 seed in the 4A state playoffs.
Kirtland (24-3) will host No. 16 seed and District 1-4A foe Shiprock in Friday's first-round matchup.
"From top to bottom, we had a really good year. We had to work hard. It's an honor to be a 1 seed, but we've still got to play," coach Devon Manning said. "(Facing Shiprock's) going to help. We know what they're about."
KC's won 21 of its last 22 games overall entering the state playoffs.
Kirtland’s quality wins this season include Farmington, Los Lunas, Española Valley, Gallup (three times) and Navajo Prep.
"We had the second-toughest strength of schedule in 4A. I think that prepared us," Manning said. "They just have a resolve. These girls aren't going to give up. They're going to play until that last horn goes off. They've just been a blessing to me and this community."
Manning hopes KC will make that next big push at state and show they're a true contender.
"I think we've kind of had a target on our back all year," Manning said. "The state tournament's a whole different beast. It's win-or-go home."
PV girls earn No. 2 seed in 5A
The Lady Panthers (24-3) will host No. 15 seed and District 2-5A opponent Eldorado in Friday's first-round game.
Coach Joe Reed said he wished PV would've gotten the No. 1 seed from a resume standpoint. The top seed went to Hobbs, and Reed hopes it'll end up becoming extra fuel for PV.
"Hopefully we'll be fired up about being slighted, prove everyone wrong," Reed said.
PV's quality wins include KC, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Sandia, Farmington (twice), La Cueva (twice) and West Mesa (three times).
At the same time, Reed expects his squad to be all set for the big stage, especially because all five District 2-5A teams (PV, Farmington, West Mesa, La Cueva and Eldorado) got in.
"(The rest of the field) know they're going to have to deal with one of us sooner or later," Reed said, whose squad has won a combined 47 games since last season.
Other area teams will host first-round games
The Newcomb boys (26-2) earned the No. 3 seed in 2A and will host No. 14 Tse' Yi' Gai on Saturday. The Navajo Prep girls (19-9) will be the No. 5 seed in the 3A playoffs and will host No. 12 St. Michael's on Friday.
Elsewhere, the Navajo Prep boys (19-8) and the Farmington girls (21-8) both earned No. 7 seeds and will host playoff openers.
The Prep boys will host No. 10 Dexter in Saturday's 3A playoff opener, while FHS will host No. 10 Cleveland in Friday's 5A playoff opener.
The Newcomb girls (15-14) earned 2A's No. 13 seed and will travel to No. 4 Dulce on Friday.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.